Archive for April, 2008

Capes, X-ray Vision and Masks…On the Catwalk Baby on the Catwalk

April 29, 2008

Superhero inspired garb is splashing the pages of Vogue and Nylon, a tribute to an exhibition starting May 7 through September 1 at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The somewhat uber geek chic trend has inspired everything from capes and cuffs to t-shirts.

I don’t truly think people will start running around campus in latex body suits or creating alter-egos (that we know of) but there is an easy way to incorporate some of this new trend into your wardrobe. Start by looking for some major Wonderwoman cuffs (most likely one, you don’t want to over do it), or sport some sexy shiny black leggings ala Catwoman (not the Halle Berry version).

Check out some of the fashion pics inspired by super powers. 

-Rebecca

Film: “Baby Mama”

April 25, 2008

From cm-life.com, natch.

“Baby Mama” is a formulaic romantic-pregnancy movie that smashes together “Knocked Up” and “The Odd Couple” in a predictable fashion.

The most significant thing about this movie is that it confirms the Judd Apatow’s mixture of current trends and events and gross-out humor is now the gold standard to be emulated by other films. Also, it solidifies the “unexpected pregnancy movie” as a bona fide genre by being the first subpar movie of this mold.

Tina Fey (“30 Rock”) stars as Kate, an upward-moving executive in an organic food company that finds herself overwhelmed with maternal desires. When it is revealed that her chances of conceiving are roughly one in a million, and adoption fails to work out for her, she turns to a surrogate mother.

What she gets is Angie (Amy Poehler, “Saturday Night Live), an uneducated, immature woman who lives with her conniving redneck boyfriend Carl (Dax Shepard, “Idiocracy”). When Angie apparently gets pregnant with Kate’s fertilized eggs, and Kate makes herself a large part of her surrogate mother’s life, everything that could go wrong does.

There are approximately three jokes in this movie. There’s “Pregnancy and parenthood are awkward,” “One woman is obsessively clean and the other is a maladjusted slob,” and finally “The supporting characters are wacky!”

The supporting characters probably fair the best of all the comedic devices. Steve Martin is funny for the first time in twelve years as Kate’s hippy boss. Dax Shepard plays an ignorant white-trash nitwit, apparently the only character he knows, but he plays it admirably and invokes a chuckle with almost every appearance.

Tina Fey fights hard to keep this movie afloat. She is the definite bright spot, as the charming, mature, yet slightly na’ve Kate. Her every joke and bright smile makes the plot’s many contrivances almost forgivable.

Make no mistake, writer-director Michael McCullers (writer of the “Austin Powers” movies) made sure that this movie was as contrived as possible. From the beginning, through the overly long and sagging middle all the way to the end, the plot moves forward without logic.

Things happen because they are supposed to happen, not because they make sense. Fey’s Kate falls in love with Rob (Greg Kinnear of “Stuck on You”) not because there is any romantic chemistry between the two, but because they played by two good-looking stars and that’s just what happens in these kinds of movies.

The last 15 minutes are so contrived that it may bring about questions as to the point having just watched the previous 80 minutes of film. The ending wraps a big shiny bow around the movie with a card that says “Everything is okay now!” In the process, Kate’s personal conflict which drove the entire movie is negated, and the audience is just forced to accept it.

While there are a few funny moments and good performances in “Baby Mama,” the whole product fails to stand up on its own. Fans of Tina Fey will gobble up her every movement in this film, but will find little else to love in this less gross Apatow-style misfire.

2 stars out of 5.

Recent Reviews:

The Forbidden Kingdom: 3 stars out of five.  As exciting as a flurry of feet to the face, with just as much dramatic depth.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
: 3 stars out of five.  Funny, heartfelt, yet flawed film.

Stop Loss:  2 stars out of five.  An emotionally affecting narrative mess.

Drillbit Taylor: 2.5 stars out of five.  An entertaining, occasionally funny, derivative high school comedy.

I LOVE GETTING YOUR FEEDBACK!  Comment below, or click my byline to email me at canze1bj@cmich.edu!

It’s a trap,

Brad Canze, the CM Life Movie Dude

Film: The Forbidden Kingdom

April 20, 2008

This should have been up on cm-life.com a couple of days ago, but due to technical difficulties and the wizardry of WordPress, here is my review of Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and some incompetent little kid in “The Forbidden Kingdom.”

In coming years, “The Forbidden Kingdom” may be looked back upon fondly by the children who grew up with it, similarly to how “The NeverEnding Story” and “Hook” are looked upon today.

“The Forbidden Kingdom” clearly takes cues from those movies and their kin, and will likely also be adored by children and scoffed at by adults.

The plot, essentially “NeverEnding Story,” smashed together with the Chinese folklore of the Monkey King, is steeped in mythology and martial arts philosophizing. At its core, however, it is a simple tale of good versus evil and a boy becoming a man, and is very easy to follow and understand.

Michael Angarano (“Sky High”) plays Jason, an outcast teen obsessed with kung fu movies. When he is bullied into helping local thugs rob the pawn shop he buys movies at, he stumbles upon a mysterious staff, which transports him to the ancient China of lore.

These early scenes are rather disjointed and unconvincing, but once the setting changes to China, the style and pace of the film click. The meat of the story is a straightforward quest to overthrow an evil warlord (Collin Chou, Seraph in the “Matrix” sequels) and return a hero to glory.

Jackie Chan and Jet Li both appear to guide and teach Jason on his journey. Chan is the highlight of every scene he appears in, displaying the “drunken kung fu” that first made him famous three decades ago.

Li does not fare quite as well. Though he manages to hold his own throughout the movie, much of his dialogue is poorly delivered, and he falls into the shadow of Chan, clearly the superior film actor. When the talking stops and the punching begins, both actors shine brightly, and make it clear why they are crossover superstars.

The major reason for anybody to see this movie is the fantastic martial arts action. Where the dialogue often falters, the fighting, choreographed by kung fu go-to guy Woo-Ping Yuen, is thrilling and creative. The highlight of the entire movie is the fight between Li and Chan when they first meet. For martial arts film fans, watching the movie is justifiable for this scene alone. As the movie goes on after the two befriend each other, the audience may hope for one of them to turn evil, just so they will keep fighting.

Complimenting the fight scenes are the visual and sound design of the movie. Camera angles invoke memories of the Shaw Brothers fantasy kung fu films of the 70s, and the color palette is lush and vivid. The sound design is similarly lush. Sound effects are delightfully overstated, again as a throw back to old school kung fu flicks.

A very charming and creative touch is when a character is using a kung fu style based on an animal, as many are, sound effects of the corresponding animal are worked into the background as they strike. When Chan’s character uses Tiger Style, a tiger’s roar can be heard when he punches, for example.

Michael Angarano gets in on the fighting action as well, taking a role in the movie somewhere between the stereotypical “young grasshopper” and Dorothy from “Wizard of Oz.” While he actually performs admirably in the fight scenes, his acting and line delivery is even more undesirable than Li. Furthermore, Angarano does not have the excuse of English being his second language. As the inevitable conclusion looms, it is hard to empathize with his character’s journey and growth.

“The Forbidden Kingdom” is a superfluous fairy tale film. Fans of films like “Hero” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” will probably enjoy the inventiveness of the fight scenes, but children will find even more to like. This is a kung fu film through Disney-tinted glasses, thrilling and dynamic, yet ultimately shallow and unsubstantial.

–Brad Canze, the CM Life Movie Dude

Film: Do you understand the words comin’ outta my mouth?

April 18, 2008

Jackie Chan made news at the geeky film sites earlier in the week with a statement that he is looking to do another film project with Chris Tucker.  The new project would not be another “Rush Hour” movie, because Chan says he did not like how much time it took in between the films to get another one started.

So what does this mean?

1) It is 2008, and there is somebody in the mainstream film industry that actually WANTS to work with Chris Tucker.

2) If Chan’s complaint about the times in between films rings true, we could see a lot of Chan-Tucker action in a short period of time.

This kinda irks me.  First, I first became aware of Tucker approximately 10 years ago in the first “Rush Hour” movie, and he has yet to do anything that has even made me laugh.  If Jackie Chan wanted to work with Chris Rock, why doesn’t he just work with Chris Rock?

Secondly, Jackie Chan needs to be way more discerning and self-aware when choosing films to make.  He’s getting way up in age, so he can’t do the straight-out, self-sacrificing action movies he did in the 80’s and into the 90’s.

But at the same time, he’s Jackie Chan!  He could have his pick of any costar in Hollywood, in any movie he’d want, and he keeps choosing costars like Tucker and Jennifer Love Hewitt, and movies like “The Tuxedo,” and “Around the World in 80 Days?”

I mean, I may sound biased, but I would be more inclined to get behind this initiative if ANY of the Rush Hour films were any good.  As far as I’m concerned, that was three strikes Chan and Tucker are out.

Personally, I would vote for Jackie Chan and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to team up for a movie.  If you were to get a competent young director to do it (Read: NOT RUSH HOUR’S BRETT RATNER), you could have one of the best buddy-cop style movies of recent memory.  I say Bryan Singer directing and Willem Dafoe as the bad guy, and you’ve got gold, Jerry, gold!

Drag Queens Invaded My Closet

April 15, 2008

Last night I had the opportunity to attend the drag show hosted by the Office of Gay and Lesbian Programs. Not ever going to a drag show, it was probably one of the most entertaining experiences I’ve had. The emcee Sabin was the highlight of the show with her raunchy language and audience interaction.

But of course I have to make this about the fashion which was everything I expected and then some. Flashy one pieces and rear riding dresses accessorized with master bling…tres chic!

It did give me some inspiration for my own wardrobe. Not to say you will see me coming to class in a spandex leotard and corset (although not far from what I see at the bar sometimes), but I do believe we need to take more chances when it comes to what’s in out closet. Maybe instead of just wearing a monotonous sweater, dress it up with a flashy piece of jewelry or wear a pair of funky tights under a dull dress.

I also believe women can learn a lot from drag queens. Sometimes we focus to much on our flaws and forget to flaunt our assets (disclaimer: do not show up to class in bar clothes). Be proud you have freedom of fashion! Peace all~Ashley Barlow

We Heart You!

April 14, 2008

It is now time to shake the dust out of those pretty little frocks you wore all last spring…finally! Yet, it still seems a little chilly to go totally bare legged. Thankfully fanciful tights are all the rage this season. 

While looking for the perfect patterned tights to spruce up my wardrobe, I came across a great sight called We Love Colors. Anything you need from fishnets to knee highs can be found here in all their 45 colors. If you are looking for something fresh to peek from your ordinary dress hem, look no further than this site. 

Typically I am pathetically loyal to American Apparel but lately my wallet thinks otherwise. At We Love Colors, everything is from $14 to $16! 

Enjoy and happy spring!

-Rebecca

www.welovecolors.com 

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

April 14, 2008

I forgot to post this when it first got published, but the movie doesn’t come out in its wide release till this Friday, so it is still timely.

Review of the Judd Apatow-produced, Jonah Hill-infested Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Expect more geeky rantings throughout the week, as per usual, *snap* just like that.

I can’t help that I’m custom made,

Brad Canze, the CM Life Movie Dude

Graduation speakers are lame

April 9, 2008

By David Harris, Editor in Chief

I bet I can guess what reaction the class of May 2008 had when they say who graduation speakers were.
All of us let out a collective “who?”
Yes all three graduation speakers are people no one has heard of. David Baker Lewis (5 p.m. ceremony), Robert Froelich ((9:30 a.m. ceremony) and Chuck Leavell (1:30 p.m. ceremony) are the three graduation speakers this year.
Perhaps my dreams were too grandiose last year when Bill Clinton spoke at the University of Michigan’s commencement. I thought CMU could bring in a big name who could inspire me to do great things. But such is not the case.
I will get to hear Lewis speak. I’m sure Lewis, who is chairman of law firm Lewis & Munday and has sat on boards for The Kroger Company and H&R Block, will have good things to say. He has been successful in his field.
But graduation is supposed to be memorable. In 20 years, you are supposed to remember that great graduation speaker you had. It is a special day in your life.
I will probably forget by the end of May.
But I will cease to bicker and I will offer a solution. Move the damn ceremony to Kelly/Shorts!
Michigan does it at Michigan Stadium. Why can’t CMU move it to its football stadium? Sure, you are playing with fire when you plan something outside in early May. So what?
You can have one ceremony, bring in a big-time speaker and more people could go because of the bigger venue.
Simple as that.
But I suppose that would make too much sense.

Film: Oliver Stone’s Burning Bush

April 8, 2008

Oliver Stone’s next film has sort of been bubbling under the surface for a few months.  It’s never really had an official announcement, and it’s only now starting to get hype and recognition.

“W.” is a biopic about the life of George W. Bush, from hard-drinking college boy to slightly irresponsible president.  IMDB lists the release date as 2009, but Hollywood Reporter says that Stone hopes to finish this movie in time to release it at election time in November.

The film will star Josh Brolin (“No Country for Old Men,” “Planet Terror”) as the current President Bush, Elizabeth Banks (“Spider-Man,” “Definitely, Maybe,”) as First Lady Laura Bush, and James Cromwell (“Babe,” “The Sum of All Fears) as Dubya’s father, George H.W. Bush.

Hollywood Reporter is saying that several Bush biographers are arguing the accuracy of “W”‘s script, and believe that it casts the president in a deceitfully negative light.

A script review on ABC News says that instead of a movie with shocking revelations about our president and his associates, it is more of an actor’s piece, that could provide star Brolin with an opportunity to take a superstar turn.

Personally, I think that doing a biopic of the current president in an election year shows Stone’s agenda clearly, and I think it’s rather insidious.  When movie makers try to play politics, everybody loses.

Stone has made some superb movies, such as “Platoon” and “Wall Street,” but those were over 20 years ago.  Stone’s more recent movies have been uninspired and disappointing.  Stone is a director who is obsessed with the 1960s.  He has made movies about Vietnam, JFK, Nixon, and the Doors, and “World Trade Center,” his previous current-event film, was less than spectacular.

I think instead of making movies with an agenda and political goals in mind, Stone should try to make some inspired, expressive art, something he has never really done, even when he was at his best.  Or at the very least, he could find another cultural figure from 40 years ago to exploit.  Marilyn Monroe hasn’t had a biopic made lately.

On another note, I was talking about W. with my friend Ian, a Ferris student.  He hadn’t heard about the movie, so I explained that it was a Bush biopic, and who was directing and acting in it.  After that, he inexplicably asked, “So what’s this movie going to be about?  The president?”

To which I replied that did not know any other way to make a movie about George W. Bush, but it did get me thinking, and this is what I came up with.  My apologies in advance.

————————————————————————————–

“In a world overtaken by super-intelligent bipedal sharks, only one man can stand between the toothy tyrants and world domination–George W. Bush.

Bush: ‘I am the decider.  And I’ve decided your time is up.’

Starring Josh Brolin as George W. Bush, and John Travolta as N’rlbat, Lord of the Sharks.

Coming this November, it’s ‘Operation Shark and Awe.'”

I’m so, so sorry.

–Brad Canze, the CM Life Movie Dude

Film: The Ruins

April 5, 2008

Caitlin M. Foyt has a review of this week’s newest horror movie, The Ruins, at CM-Life.com.  Check ‘er out.

Furthermore, Harry Knowles, the founder and webmaster of Aintitcool.com, one of the most oft-used sources for our film posts,  has been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

I can’t imagine why*.

*I can’t imagine why it took this long to get diagnosed.  I mean, I support everybody loving and watching films, but balance that with an occasional jog or two, and keep veggies in your diet.